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Recreation - Music or Not Music (LP)

Recreation - Music or Not Music (LP)

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Genre: progressive
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Music or not Music
Company: Barclay
Catalog: 920 356 T
Year: 1972
Country/State: Liege, Belgium
Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+
Comments: lower right corner crease
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6201
Price: $100.00

Can't say I know a great deal about this early-1970s Belgian trio - keyboard player Jean-Jacques Falaise, drummer Francis Lonneux, and guitarist Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche. Their recording catalog is limited - two studio albums (1970's "Don't Open" and 1972's "Music or not Music") an obscure single, and a 2003 Australian-issued compilation entitled "Recreation" that gathered up both studio albums.

Drummer Francis Lonneux and guitarist/bass player Jean-Paul Van Den Bosschere started their collaboration as members of Les Mistigris who recorded a couple of obscure mid-1960s and when on to minor attention backing Turkish singer/keyboard player Baris Manco.

- 1964's 'Magdalena' b/w 'For Nenette' (Arsa catalog number 109)
- 1965's 'Ticket To Ride' b/w 'Summer Nights' (Supraphon catalog number SUN 43187)
- 1966's 'Siberia' b/w 'Andiamo' (Barclay catalog number 62191)

Produced by Erick Van Huls, their sophomore release "Music or not Music" featured 15 tracks, many of them quite short and linked together in a continuing suite arrangement which made it difficult to figure out where some of the compositions started and stopped. With all three members sharing creative duties the all-instrumental set simply wasn't the lost classic slice of progressive magic some dealers would have you believe (the fact it was included in one of the Hans Pokora books merely added to the hype). The three members were all quite talented, but the majority of attention seemed focused on keyboardist Falaise. Musically this one was hard to adequately describe. The overall feel was progressive, but there were touches of jazz, conventional rock, outright experimentation, and even a playful, goofy side to some of the work. Nothing here was particularly commercial, toe tapping, or original, but for some odd reason it all seemed to hang together well. One word of warning - because all of the songs fed into one another without clear breaks, it was impossible to tell where one composition started and stopped. I've listened to this set dozens of times and still can't tell you. I guess I could take a stopwatch to it and compare the listed running times, but then I'm not that anal.

- 'Music Against Music' opened up with some pretty, classically influence Jean-Jacques Falaise piano. About a minute in the track abruptly switched gears into an extended Jean-Paul Van Den Bossch feedback drenched guitar solo before returning and closing out with more Falaise piano. Mildly interesting, but nothing to get too excited about and the dubbed crowd noises were just stupid. rating: ** stars
- I guess calling it funky would be somewhat of stretch, but the instrumental 'Music for Your Dog' came close. Opening with some interesting synthesizers chords and some mildly jazz- tinged piano the song had a nice beat complete with Latin tinged percussion (though Lonneux's extended drum solo was needless). rating: *** stars
- Clocking it at a meager 12 second, the title 'The Night was Clear, the Moon was Yellow' was longer than this song fragment. That was unfortunate since Van Den Bossche's brief acoustic guitar solo was lovely. rating: ** stars
- Kicked along by Lonnen's galloping drums and Falaise's arsenal of keyboards, 'Where Is the Bar Clay?' had an interesting melody, but it kept getting interrupted by Van Den Bossche squealing feedback flourishes. You were left to wonder if Falais and Van Den Bossche were actually playing the same song. rating: *** stars
- Showcasing Falaise on organ, the aptly titled, 'Caligula's Suite In Horror Minor' sounded like it had been lifted off of some forgotten 'B' horror flick. rating: ** stars
- The first half of 'My Grandmother Likes Andy Williams Too' was basically an experimental sound collage that was thoroughly dull, plodding, and forgettable. It kind of reminded by of an ELP song. The second half of the song found the trio discovering melody and rhythm and was actually worth hearing, even though the sound effects continued to be a source of irritation. rating: ** stars
- The longest track on side one, 'Last Train To Rhyhtmania' showcased a 1960s-styled jazz feel - remember the Charlie Brown television special soundtracks by Vince Guaraldi? Well, parts of this weren't all that different ... okay Guaraldi didn't employee cutting fuzz guitar in his work. rating: ** stars
- Perhaps the most startling thing about '... and the Producer Got Mad' was the abrupt ending. Opening with some nice jazz-rock fusion lead guitar, the song abruptly shifted gears bringing Falaise organ to the forefront with a pounding refrain that slowly built up speed and energy before suddenly just stopping - hence the weird title ??? rating: *** stars
- Showcasing Falaise's keyboards (which gave this one a distinctive ELP flavor), 'Glove Story' was one of the album's most conventional numbers. rating: *** stars
- Opening up with a battery of sound effects including crying babies and laughing people, 'Laughin' People' ws notable for more Falaise church organ and some nice bass work from Van Den Bossche. rating: *** stars
- Meanwhile 'Stavin' Children' / Nothing's Holy' 'found the band taking a stab at a blues-rock, complete with feel with pretty good results. rating: *** stars
- 'Concerto for Elevator' opened up with an uncreditted snippet from '2001 a Space Odessey' and then bounced all over the place, including a breezy, keyboard sequence that ended with the sound of receding footsteps. rating: ** stars
- Opening with some beautiful Van Den Bossche acoustic guitar, 'War Business Is a Good Job' shifted into a weird series of keyboards, sound effects, and MOR strings, before returning to acoustic guitar. rating: *** stars
- Built on a surprisingly funky Van Den Bossche bass line, 'To End or Not To End' also showcased some tasty jazz-influenced guitar, before abruptly exploding opening up with the album's best fuzz guitar solos. And then things got real strange with Falaise unleashing a bizarre serious of keyboard solos (including a snippet of 'La Marseillaise') amidst the sounds of gunfire and explosions, chirping birds, and other oddball sound effects. rating: *** stars

"Music of not Music" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Music Against Music (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 1:59
2.) Music for Your Dog (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen -Vion) - 2:25
3.) The Night was Clear, the Moon was Yellow (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 0:12
4.) Where Is the Bar Clay? (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise -Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 2:11
5.) Caligula's Suite In Horror Minor (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) -1:37
6.) My Grandmother Likes Andy Williams Too (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 2:20
7.) We Don;t Like It Either (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 0:46
8.) Last Train To Ryhtmania (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 5:06
9.) ... and the Producer Got Mad (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 2:44

(side 2)
1.) Glove Story (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 4:04
2.) Laughin' People - Meanwhile: Stavin' Children (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 4:21
3.) Nothing's Holy (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 7:52
4.) Concerto for Elevator (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion)- 6:41
5.) War Business Is a Good Job (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion)- 5:43
6.) To End or Not To End (instrumental) (Jean-Paul Van Den Bossche - Jean-Jacques Falaise - Francis Lonneen - Vion) - 5:01

The band also released an extremely obscure non-LP single:

- 1972's 'Love Forever' b/w 'Fallen Astronauts' (Barclay catalog number )

The 'B' side has an interesting history. In 1971 Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck met American astronaut David Scott at a dinner party. The two apparently hit it off with Scott asked Van Hoeydonck if he'd be willing to design a small statue to commemorate American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts who had lost lost their lives. As Scott planned to take the resulting piece of art to the moon and leave it there, he gave Van Hoeydonck some rather strict design requirements including it had to be small, lightweight, and capable of withstanding the moon's temperature extremes. Van Hoeydonck was happy to design the statute (entitled "Fallen Astronaut") which was promptly deposited on the moon as part of the Apollo 15 mission.

For anyone interested, Van Hoeydonck has a website at:

- Falaise was briefly a member of the Turkish/European band Kurtalan Express.
- Lonneux reappeared as a member of Bacchus.
- Van Den Bossche married singer Carine Reggiani and is a member of her touring band.
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